EU crumbling: Rebellion erupts as Hungary refuses to back down to Brussels bullying

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Authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Hungary still cannot accept rule of law criteria attached to the EU’s budget and its coronavirus recovery fund. He said the political rules on respecting the rule of law should be dealt with separately.

He warned the explanatory declaration attached to the regulations, which prompted a senior Polish government member to say Poland might accept the package, would be unacceptable to Budapest.

Mr Orban said: “For us this solution, attaching some statement like a reminder on a sticky note attached on a piece of paper, it won’t work. 

“Hungary insists that these two things should be separated.”

His warning comes as Poland and Hungary continue vetod the EU’s £1.6tn (€1.8tn) seven-year budget, as well as the £671bn (€750bn) coronavirus recovery.

The two countries are against plans to attach rule-of-law conditions to the disbursement of money. 

Hungary and Poland have blocked the EU’s seven-year budget and its post-crisis development fund for weeks, stopping £1.6 trillion (€1.8tn) worth of funds from reaching member states, some hurting for cash amid an economic crisis.

Budapest and Warsaw, which have been criticised for years for perceived backsliding on democratic standards, have said they would act and vote together on the rule of law issue, and Mr Orban said he would stick to that agreement.

He said there was no rush to get an agreement on the EU budget this year, adding if the Union does not have an agreement by January, it will have one later.

Mr Orban added: “Leave the legal status quo unchanged and everything will go smoothly and quickly.” 

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